EnergyWatch

New developer has 11GW offshore wind ready from inception

Profiles from European Energy, Ørsted and Centrica team up to found a new company aiming to develop solar, onshore wind, offshore wind and do power trading. Theres a hole in the market for us right now — in five years it will be closed, says director.

Photo: Copenhagen Energy

Andreas von Rosen uses a lifeline when questioned about success criteria for his newly founded project development company, Copenhagen Energy.

"What do you say, Jasmin?" he defers to co-founder Jasmin Bejdic before offering his offhand bid anyhow:

"We're just going to give it full throttle."

Bejdic is of the same opinion:

"We want to have fun. Of course, we also aim to make money, and it's not like we'll first break even in five years. But it must be done with passion. We must have good relations as colleagues, laugh together, drink a beer or take a run together," he says.

Means to win through flexibility

Perhaps that comes across as somewhat of a laissez faire attitude, but even if a relaxed vibe is a criterion for Copenhagen Energy, the founders are hardly expecting to succeed without breaking a sweat. Quite the contrary, the developer enters the picture with lofty ambitions, armed with a project portfolio already containing more than 10GW – not to mention a considerable degree of experience within the Danish energy sector.

Von Rosen has been a key profile for more than a decade in European Energy's onshore solar and wind development unit. Meanwhile, Bejdic has played a corresponding role in the developer's offshore wind business, also including nearshore projects in Jammerland Bugt and Omø Syd.

The duo is accompanied by Nikolaj Hamann, whose most recent responsibility was overseeing Ørsted's tender bid for Danish offshore project Thor. Zlatan Bejdic, former trader at both DC and Centrica, is also part of the team.

It's been a great journey with European Energy. However, it has also become a larger company with more bureaucracy.

Copenhagen Energy Co-founder Jasmin Bejdic

The chilled attitude should perhaps be seen more as an expression of what the founders reckon will be easier to accomplish via Copenhagen Energy rather than through one of the larger companies where they have worked.

"We can assemble the puzzle in a way the bigger players cannot. They have their ways of doing things, where finding partners takes a long time, with rigid demands placed on most things. We can be more flexible," Jasmin Bejdic says and mentions some of the developer's initial projects in the portfolio.

Offshore wind in Ireland and the Philippines

This will take place far from Copenhagen and in a market first starting to consider offshore wind this year – the Philippines, where Copenhagen Energy has entered a joint venture with domestic power company Petroenergy concerning three floating wind projects potentially totaling 3GW and with options for attached Power-to-X facilities – an agreement settled without ever holding a physical meeting with the partner.

"Due to Covid-19, everything has been done on Teams, where we have established an equitable partnership in record time," Jasmin Bejdic says:

"Naturally, this has also come together thanks to old networks. Essentially, we're largely offering network and a lot of knowledge on how to find the best sites around the world. We have unique knowledge about which markets have attractive framework conditions, and we are skilled in working with local partners."

The other, even larger section in the developer's portfolio is a sign of the same. Here, Copenhagen Energy has formed a partnership with Ivernia Energy, a subsidiary of Irish contractor McMahon Design & Management, regarding seven offshore wind projects with a potential combined capacity of 8GW.

In reality, this is not far removed from what von Rosen and Jasmin Bejdic are used to from European Energy, where the pair weren't salaried staff in a conventional sense, but rather were partners with co-ownership of the projects in which they were involved.

Last call for space

Bearing in mind European Energy's plans to grow by at least 1GW per year, Copenhagen Energy might have tried to establish a partnership with the old acquaintance. However, time is ripe to walk alone, Jasmin Bejdic says.

"It's been a great journey with European Energy. However, it has also become a larger company with more bureaucracy. At the same time, we have for a longer period felt the itch to manifest our own visions, and the timing is right now," he says.

A lot of solar and wind is needed, both in Denmark and a long row of other nations. So, there's room for many in this sector – and I certainly think there's space for us

Copenhagen Energy Co-founder Andreas von Rosen

"Right now, there's a hole in the market for a company like ours that's agile and has knowledge of the field. We have the opportunity to secure projects around the world and carry out early-stage development. Five years from now, that chance will have passed."

Onshore à la European

Developing greenfield offshore wind projects also seems like a job cut out for Copenhagen Energy. What a little, newly founded developer may have in terms of flexibility, it typically lacks when in comes to possibilities to flex economic muscles – particularly considering GW-scale projects involving investment sums tallying up to billions of euros.

The idea is for the developer to find and conceptualize projects, after which development will continue with actual facility design in cooperation with a partner with deeper pockets. Before a given project reaches financial close, the new company must completely divest.

However, the idea is not for the company to only engage itself with resource-intensive and long-term offshore wind projects. On the completely other side of the temporal scale, a trader unit is also set up, with focus on the intraday market trading, while the development unit will also make efforts within solar and onshore farms, which take less time to install.

A lot of solar and wind is needed, both in Denmark and a long row of other nations. So, there's room for many in this sector – and I certainly think there's space for us

Copenhagen Energy Co-founder Andreas von Rosen

Von Rosen will manage that part of operations in the same way he's done at European Energy – also at comparable scales of solar projects on sites of 30-200 hectares and wind farms comprised of three to ten turbines.

"In principal, we want to do the same thing I've been doing these last 15 years. Only that we'll manage the process directly so we in time amass a nice portfolio that can create value for our company," says von Rosen, who is not worried that the new company will have a hard time finding its feet in the competitive market.

"A lot of solar and wind is needed, both in Denmark and a long row of other nations. So, there's room for many in this sector – and I certainly think there's space for us."

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